We can divide our investments into three baskets: Me, Work, and the World. Water the plants you wish to grow and embrace the principle of interdependence to achieve your goals.
Invest For The Future
When you think about investment, you may automatically think about money. However, we know from experience that we invest in lots of other things, like the happiness of our children or the flourishing of the church. We invest in our health by the food we eat and the exercise that we choose to do.
The other day I was made acutely aware that everything I do has a consequential result, and therefore all that happens in my future is somewhat influenced by what I do now. I had a direct realisation of the impact of the laws of Karma.
If you take on this responsibility too much, you might never get out of bed - some people don’t get out of bed.
Agoraphobia (ag-uh-ruh-FOE-be-uh) is a type of anxiety disorder. Agoraphobia involves fearing and avoiding places or situations that might cause panic and feelings of being trapped, helpless or embarrassed. Mayo Clinic
As part of a healthy approach to living our life, then, this investment idea has benefit. Imagine that each day you act like a ‘Big Time Investor’. Your day is filled with important decisions that affect millions. It does!
One of the greatest sufferings that we humans experience is loneliness, and we hardly ever give too much thought to how to invest in the opposite, connectedness. We apply our makeup and don acceptable attire to face the world in an attempt to ‘fit in’ and never really question this behaviour. Isn’t this our subconscious way to be socially acceptable?
Are we ever rewarded according to the effort that we put in?
It seems that for all the sophistication of our modern world, the lonelier we are all becoming. Let’s put a little more thought into getting the desired result, instead of doing the same thing and expecting a different result. How you present yourself to the world is a personal decision and will vary greatly from person to person, but our common goal is to feel connected.
The AI phenomena that we are currently experiencing together has raised an interesting topic that has been at the centre of humanity for time immemorial. Ethics and Morality.
When I first got sober (or was it fifth?) I read a tremendous book by Clive Hamilton called The Freedom Paradox. He opened my eyes to the seriousness of personal choice. In simplicity, he challenges me to decide whether I want the
The Good Life or
The Meaningful Life
Clive Hamilton argues that the paradox of modern consumer life is that we are deprived of our inner freedom by our very pursuit of our own desires.
Each of these three ‘lives’ have aspects that I like, and each moment I might be tempted to be this way or that.
It seems similar in nature to imagining our funeral and reflecting on how you would like others to recall you in the eulogy. I recently attended a funeral of a man whom I had never met, but of whom I had heard a lot of negativity. The beautiful part of that service was to hear all the wonderful things that this man had done. His errors were momentarily forgotten.
Each day I have the choice to pursue the hedonistic, pleasant life. I can indulge in chocolate and pornography, idle ecstasy and momentary sensations.
I could decide to forgo the instant gratification and do ‘the right thing’ for my children, family and community. Or,
I could turn my mind to the meaning of life and engage in actions that will benefit my eternal self, whatever I determine that is.
Each of these is an investment and has its reciprocal return.
How Buddhism and The 12 Steps Saved My Life
The investment in a chocolate bar is $4.50, and it gives me great, sweet enjoyment and around 5,700kj of energy. If I don’t invest that energy, it will grant me an inch or two of waistline.
When I decide to forgo a night with my friends and choose instead to help my daughter with a homework assignment, that investment will return a grateful child, improved learning, and an example of parenting that will be passed on to my grandchildren. In the long term, our community is better off for the effort and time I put into the homework instead of drinks at the pub.
Finally, an example of living the Meaningful Life is the pursuit of Enlightenment for the benefit of all. Buddha taught that we all have Buddha-nature and the discovering of this is our meaningful pursuit in this life. Being born with all the freedoms and endowments of a precious human life, we have the opportunity to engage in learning and practising the path of enlightenment, which will benefit all living beings in the end.
Many other traditions will have a similar narrative. Sadly, we seem to have been caught up in so many worldly concerns that the Meaningful Life is pursued mostly by zealots and freaks.
The simple way that I have found to try and stay ethical and moral despite my inclination is to divide the investments into three baskets. Just like an investment plan or budget, things can and will go awry. This method helps me get back on track.
The Three Big Investments
There’s Me, Work, and the World.
Me is personal and the inner work I deem important, and if I don’t have enough Me, there is little else for the World or for Work. In here, the sub-categories are
Spiritual, Mental, and Physical.
Work is the contribution I make that is returned to me as dividends in Resources, Satisfaction, Esteem, and Reputation.
World is everything else that is external and more or less out of my control. The investments and donations that I make here are returned to me as Civility, Companionship, Community, Order, and Ceremony.
It is said that the plant that you water is the one that grows.
By adopting ethical practices, being disciplined, and embracing the principle of interdependence, we can achieve our investment goals.
In Corinthians, it is said: ‘So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow’. This may be true, but the plants I don’t water don’t grow either.
Water the plants that you wish to grow, and may the God of your understanding flourish in your garden.